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Billings vet warns of ticks as spring and rain emerge

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Posted at 5:37 PM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-17 15:34:31-04

BILLINGS - It’s that time of year when pet owners should be on the lookout for ticks.

“They’re icky,” said Dr. Edie Best with Billings Family Animal Hospital.

Best says now is the time to act to prevent ticks because they can be wandering anywhere.

“Tick prevention is just necessary,” said Best. “Especially if you are taking your dogs out.”

On a beautiful day in Two Moon Park, that’s exactly what Kaleah Romaro was doing with her six-year-old pup, Bella.

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“She loves to be outside,” said Romaro. “She loves swimming.”

But when the two are done with their walk, Romaro is sure to check Bella for ticks in addition to getting her protected with a flea and tick medicine.

What is the purpose of a tick?

“They are called a vector for disease,” said Best. “So what they do in their job is to spread disease.”

So how do ticks get embedded in your pets’ fur?

“They don’t jump, they quest,” said Best. “So, when a dog walks by or a person walks by, they just sort of let themselves fall, and they land on whatever is walking by.”

Best says in Montana the biggest worry is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever but Lyme disease is uncommon in our region.

“So, there is a variety of topicals they are in a liquid form that you put on their back and it sort of disperses over the body,” she said.

But there are other options too.

“There’s the other products, which are the oral products. Your dog eats them as a treat, and they are just in their system,” she said.

And if a tick has already embedded in your pet’s skin, Best says, here’s what to do:

“You want to get them off as slow as you can, so get as close to the skin as you can.. and pull slowly,” said Best.

Best says another pesky insect to be aware of is mosquitos, so she recommends making sure your dog is up to date on their heartworm medication.